Rapzilla.com’s 15 Freshmen of 2018
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Artificial Christian



Artificial Christian has that true essence of hip-hop vibe. They are musical, fun, conscious, and just flat out make great music. Their sample size for 2017 is small, but if it's any indication of what's to come, prepare for a strong 2018.

When did you decide that you wanted to pursue music?

All four of us had been pursuing music individually since various points in our childhood. In early 2017, we decided to come together as a group after connecting through the hip-hop scene in Phoenix and vibing with each other's talents. With Warren being from the Bronx, Weez from Texas, Mendoza from New Mexico, andjo PS being an Arizona resident, we felt like God had called us from across the states to create music that glorifies Him and that offers a complex Christian perspective that covers everything from politics to nature to relationships and work. All of life is all for Him, and we wanted that to be reflected in every song we create.

What has been the most memorable moment of your career so far?

The most memorable moment so far has been the listening party we threw for our first, self-titled mixtape release. We packed 50 people into our small, in-house studio space, and everyone loved the project and provided some great feedback. That served as a springboard for many show opportunities and collaborations. It was a strong connection point for the local CHH scene, with artists like Davis Absolute coming out to support.

What should fans be on the lookout for musically from you in 2018?

We are working on our EP, due out for release in the first quarter of 2018. The project will be executive produced by Dominic Mendoza, and we're looking to dive deeper into life changes that have been pervasive over the last year, from marriages and babies to changes in work and living situations. We see the Lord working in new ways through it all, and can't wait to translate that into our music.

Follow Artificial Christian on Facebook and Twitter.

CJ King



CJ King really started making moves in 2016 in preparation for 2017. This year he dropped his free ep The Session and dropped singles "Overtime" with Zauntee and Tha Move with former Freshman Jered Sanders. King is poised to be among the leaders of the new school in 2018 and beyond.



When did you decide that you wanted to pursue music?

I decided to seriously pursue music during my freshman year at Liberty University. I performed at every single open mic, passed out CDs that I printed from my laptop, and started a studio in my dorm room.

What has been the most memorable moment of your career so far?

Wow, I would have to say it's between being the very first to ever get a letter from Liberty University stating they would literally pay for my schooling if I would become the first hip-hop artist on the school's roster and Travis Greene DMing me to let me know how much he enjoys my music. I've always admired his artistry so I admit I was a little star struck.

What should fans be on the lookout for musically from you in 2018?

2018 is going to be crazy. I'm headlining a tour starting in March and co-headlining another tour in August. Of course, you can expect more visuals and music. Lastly, I'm under contract so I'll be vague but I'm blessed to be apart of something that's going to put CHH on the map like never before. So make sure to follow your boy because 2018 is going to be a wild ride, I promise.

Follow CJ King on Facebook and Twitter.

Dru Bex



Dru Bex has been around in some capacity for around five years, but in 2017 he really came into his own with the release of The Good Album. Dru also saw his label, Role Model Records, partner with RMG Amplify. After years of deliberating on becoming a secular rapper or a Christian rapper, his wife set him on the right path. When did you decide that you wanted to pursue music?

Hmm, that's a tough one for sure. When I was in my late teens I hooked up with a couple of other guys from my church and we formed a group called Christyle. We definitely thought we were gonna take over the music industry and we might've been a little naive about a few things. As we got older we kind of adjusted our expectations and we all went and got real jobs and got married but I was the only one who still kept one foot in the music. Things really changed for me in 2011. A lot of talent from my city was blowing up and for the first time I felt like being from Toronto was actually a good thing instead of an excuse for not making it. I decided to make a major push but I was kind of drifting towards the mainstream, and I don't mean like NF or Lecrae, I mean straight up secular. Lots of prayers, an ultimatum from the wife and one heart check later and I finally decided to pursue a career making God-centered hip-hop again. I think that was around 2013 right before I made my first EP, Nowhere to Now Here.

What has been the most memorable moment of your career so far?

Another tough one! I feel like all of 2017 was super memorable but I'd probably have to say releasing The Good Album which was my first official album. I spent so many years honing my craft and to see it finally pay off was such a blessing. I've heard many people say the album was slept on but those who have heard it seem to really love it. Even before the album, I would say the release of "Running Man" was a huge turning point in my career. The song was so well received and put me on a lot of people's radar.

What should fans be on the lookout for musically from you in 2018?

2018 is definitely looking to be another great year. The whole plan is to build on the successes of 2017 but this time around I have even more support thanks to the deal with RMG Amplify. It will definitely be the year where I release the most music I've ever released in one year. Look out for another album which will actually be part two of a planned quadrilogy that started with The Good Album, a couple of joint projects and lots of dope collabs, singles, and videos.

Follow Dru Bex on Facebook and Twitter.

Eric Heron



Eric Heron had one of the most well-rounded years on this list. He dropped his free EP Dawn last spring and then dropped a bunch of singles in the summer and fall in preparation for his debut, Afterglow: A Somewhat Complicated Story. His single and music video for the song "Be Me" did extremely well, and the non-album cut "Obi-Wan" received over 100,000 plays on Spotify alone. Eric has worked with former freshman Lawren, and current freshman, WHATUPRG.

When did you decide that you wanted to pursue music?

I started messing around with songwriting and rapping during high school, but my main focus was always to play college baseball so I never really took it seriously. It wasn't until my sophomore year of college that I realized how much I loved music and that's when I really sat down and started to work on my craft.

What has been the most memorable moment of your career so far?

I think the most memorable moment in my career to this point has been seeing the support and love for the release of my debut album and hearing people's stories about how they relate to some of the songs and messages. I would never have dreamed in a million years that I would actually make something that people enjoyed, let alone have it impact them in a positive way, it's truly been a blessing.

What should fans be on the lookout for musically from you in 2018?

I'm currently working on some of my best music to date, as well as starting to line up shows for 2018. I've never been able to perform because I was in college but now that I graduated I'm really looking forward to hitting the road and getting hype with my fans!

Follow Eric Heron on Facebook and Twitter.

FVMELESS



FVMELESS might not be familiar to many of the readers but he quietly found himself among many talented rappers in Christian hip-hop. He's part of the Streetlight Sounds crew, and with them released the track "No Brakes" with J.Crum, Greco, Walt Fortune, T-Vision, and Mola-B. He also did tracks with YourWelcome fka Ki'Shon Furlow, Levi Hinson, and Shiwan. FVMELESS racked up a considerable amount of monthly listeners on Spotify which is attributed from being featured on Spotify's Discover Weekly and Release Radar.



When did you decide that you wanted to pursue music?

I've always had a passion for music and dreamt of performing since I was a kid. I didn’t actually start making music until about three years ago. I saw Lecrae for the first time on his Anomaly tour and it sparked a love for rap music that I didn’t know existed. After that, I started learning about production and taught myself everything I could (with a little help from the homie Kevmo). That Lecrae concert started everything for me. He and Gawvi were huge inspirations in starting my music career.

What has been the most memorable moment of your career so far?

The most memorable moment so far in my career is actually someone else’s accomplishment. The big homie J. Crum got to open for Lecrae this last fall and he asked me to be apart of his set. We had just launched Streetlight Sounds and it was incredible seeing so many people rock with us that night. Relationships/collaborations like that are what makes this music thing so special to me.

What should fans be on the lookout for musically from you in 2018?

Myself and Vic Sage are dropping a project in early 2018, a project that has been in the works for almost a year. After that, I plan on releasing lots of singles with some very talented artists and I’m planning my own debut project dropping towards the end of the year. 2018 should be a fun ride!

Follow FVMELESS on Facebook and Twitter.

Jet Trouble



Jet Trouble burst on the scene thanks to his signing to Kings Dream Entertainment by Ruslan. Jet Trouble is more in the Joey Jewish lane of hip-hop, hitting melodic verses with hip-hop infused tracks and features. His first single was called "Wendy Peffercorn," and that's about as good of a start as anyone can ask for. He also released a great debut project Warren Park.



When did you decide that you wanted to pursue music?

I started pursuing music at 14 years old; honestly what really got me into music were the rap battles on the school bus ride home back in Middle School, it was an everyday affair that we all took pride in and the passion for music and writing grew from there.

What has been the most memorable moment of your career so far?

This year has been my most successful year yet with the release of Warren Park doing so well across digital platforms. Just being able to see the love it was shown was huge for me; I put everything I am into that record and was brutally honest with the listener. Being able to see it embraced by the people in a major way was definitely memorable.

What should fans be on the lookout for musically from you in 2018?

2018, I plan on turning around and dropping another album fairly soon. I'm gonna be taking a lot more creative risks and I'm sure they'll see some cool features thrown their way as well.

Follow Jet Trouble on Facebook and Twitter.

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